Notre-Dame de Paris, more commonly known as Notre-Dame Cathedral, is one of the first landmarks that comes to many people's minds when thinking of Paris. The cathedral's iconic spire, which was undergoing renovation, was destroyed by fire yesterday.
The destruction of such an icon of French culture and identity has dealt a staggering psychic blow to the people of Paris, and thousands have turned out to hold vigil near the cathedral.
The main cathedral and towers, which were constructed over the course of a century between 1160 and 1260 AD, are still standing. There was significant damage to the structure, and its contents, by both the fire and subsequent water used to put out the blaze.
French President Emmanuel Macron vowed that the cathedral will be rebuilt in an emotional speech yesterday evening.
Notre Dame Will Be Rebuilt, French President Emmanuel Macron Says www.youtube.com
One of France's heritage preservation foundations, Fondation du Patrimoine, has started a fundraising campaign to pay for the restoration.
Pour que Notre-Dame puisse renaître de ses cendres nous lançons un appel international. Tous les dons reçus seront… https://t.co/4kfEegkXgF— Fondation du patrimoine (@Fondation du patrimoine)1555363787.0
As of this morning, that campaign has raised 2 million Euros.
Mobilisation incroyable pour Notre-Dame ! C'est avec émotion que nous traitons vos dons et vos messages de soutien.… https://t.co/RhFOnJl9tU— Fondation du patrimoine (@Fondation du patrimoine)1555414749.0
But the rebuilding of the cathedral is something that will take place in the future; the people of France are mourning the loss of the iconic part of French heritage now.
This has led many to travel to the areas surrounding the cathedral to hold vigil. Last night, as the cathedral was still burning, thousands gathered to bear witness to the tragedy.
During this gathering, some of those who were there began singing Ave Maria.
The song then spread throughout the crowd, with some kneeling or holding hands while singing.
The view from St Michele. As night falls, a group of people are singing while everyone else is taking photos and wa… https://t.co/hnLCjtjvx3— Andrei Popoviciu (@Andrei Popoviciu)1555355496.0
#NotreDame https://t.co/lkKHs5FBnm— Andrei Popoviciu (@Andrei Popoviciu)1555355787.0
The haunting voices, and the sense of both grief and unity they represented, touched many on Twitter.
@Inaki_Gil @ThomasIsOnline The humanity— Christina Roberts (@Christina Roberts)1555369241.0
@Inaki_Gil L'un des plus tristes jours de ma vie... https://t.co/XQTj36oTo4— JESUS ANGEL SOLORZANO TELECHEA (@JESUS ANGEL SOLORZANO TELECHEA)1555366795.0
@Inaki_Gil Gratia plena, Dominus tecum...— Tomasz Wyszyński (@Tomasz Wyszyński)1555363767.0
@khinman @HinmanLabUCLA This cuts right to the heart. Love and unity above all. Weeping for this loss.— MiaS3 (@MiaS3)1555428599.0
President Macron also took to Twitter to express his sorrow at the loss.
Notre-Dame is aflame. Great emotion for the whole nation. Our thoughts go out to all Catholics and to the French pe… https://t.co/pA7BbnQHxo— Emmanuel Macron (@Emmanuel Macron)1555360597.0
People all around the world were saddened by this tragedy, and offered words of support to the French.
@AndreiPopoviciu God be with you Paris. Bless the Firefighters and Helpers. My heart is with you as you keep your… https://t.co/MDAHjkFvi0— Lesley Shurlock (@Lesley Shurlock)1555365637.0
@EmmanuelMacron So sad for France tonight. Our love to you and your beautiful country - land, people, buildings.— Millie Hart🇪🇺🇪🇺🇪🇺🇪🇺🇪🇺 (@Millie Hart🇪🇺🇪🇺🇪🇺🇪🇺🇪🇺)1555363848.0
@EmmanuelMacron Me duele en lo mas profundo de mi corazon💔😢 se perdio cultura historia... desde Mexico🇲🇽 mis condol… https://t.co/8FtarRWcPL— Ania.Ibarra (@Ania.Ibarra)1555394503.0
@EmmanuelMacron I'm so sorry, France. Our thoughts are with you from UK. Such a huge loss and desperately sad. ❤— Caroline Cousins (@Caroline Cousins)1555364729.0
@AndreiPopoviciu Terrible. So much history and beauty gone.— Mark Davies (@Mark Davies)1555408600.0
This tragedy affects more than just the citizens of france or the Catholics of the world. Notre-Dame represents centuries of history, art, and human accomplishment.
Early reports indicated that much of the contents of the cathedral were able to be salvaged before the roof collapsed, but it remains to be seen what survived the blaze.
The whole world stands with France in this time of loss.